An influential faction within the Jubilee has crafted a plot and poured money to compel several Luhya legislators and MCAs to stick in the United Democratic Forum party to sustain it up to the 2017 general elections when it will officially be adopted by Ababu Namwamba as party leader and the Somali community to hike their political bargaining power in Jubilee in a move to boost the URP wing of Jubilee.
If Namwamba is declared the party leader now, it will complicate matters for him by virtue of being the ODM secretary general until an opportune time comes. Fear of a by- election in Budalangi is also another factor.
It is against this background that the yet to be confirmed UDF leader Benjamin Washiali was coerced to inherit the position left vacant after Musalia Mudavadi moved to the Amani National Congress Party. It is emerging that Washiali is holding brief for Budalangi MP Namwamba as he plans for his future political moves. In the scheme is the moneyed Somali leaders under the stewardship of parliamentary majority leader Aden Duale. Unknown to many, Washiali’s recent endorsement to be UDF party leader by party grassroots operatives in Kakamega and Vihiga is a well choreographed and bankrolled political maneuver engineered by URP headquarters with the blessings of William Ruto, Duale and Namwamba. Sources have confirmed a multi-million slush fund with contributions from the DP and Somali businessmen, has been created to pay off the Western politicians and their foot soldiers.
However, it was the choice of the Mumias West MP who is also the Jubilee deputy chief whip in parliament that left many wondering
Analysts were of the opinion that UDF fraternity has other more influential, better educated and resourced legislators and leaders who could have been automatic option than this low key four-time MP Washiali.
It is said that URP discovered that Washiali due to his position as a deputy whip for Jubilee, his many years as “a political Trojan Horse” for the DP in Luhyaland was identified to warm the seat for Namwanba. Indeed, inside sources have revealed that Washiali was literally threatened with removal from being Jubilee deputy chief whip if he refused to do the URP bidding in the UDF take-over arrangement. Besides, UDF allied MPs from Luhyaland have been promised increased financial and logistical support to wedge a bigger campaign across Luhyaland to create the impression that the new ANC party has been unable to attract UDF members from Luhyaland to join it.
Behind the move is to keep UDF afloat until 2017 apart from splitting URP into two distinct but expanded outfits to have greater control of the Jubilee Coalition and overpower the Central Kenya and Mt. Kenya supremacy in the ruling coalition.
The UDF project in Western has been lined up alongside several other political programs to engage, distract and tire-off top Luhyaland politicians eying national leadership come 2017. Notable big Luhya names earmarked for checkmating include Mudavadi and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula.
It is an open secret that Mudavadi is URP’s waking nightmare as DP Ruto fears his close links with the Moi family including Baringo senator Gideon Moi who is the fulcrum of the rising anti-William Ruto rebellion in Kalenjinland, his close political links with Uhuru Kenyatta which can easily be used to his detriment and even emerging fears that Mudavadi may get into a 2017 reunion with Cord leader Raila Odinga and package a powerful coalition that can overcome Jubilee in 2017 elections bringing Ruto’s presidential hopes to a rude abortion.
URP insiders have admitted that the formation and unveiling of ANC by Mudavadi allies and his quick shift to it from UDF caught the URP high command, including the DP offguard. Their gameplan had been mapped out clear and it revolved around fomenting wrangles and instability in UDF to ensure the former Sabatia MP got stuck and wasted all the way to 2017 to be a nonstarter and be forever vanquished politically.
It was in perpetuation of that strategy that the DP lured to his side vocal Luhya MPs hitherto close to Mudavadi and even put many on cash stipends for weekends. The fishing expedition led to the generation of fierce rivalry between Lugari MP Ayub Savula and Washiali over who was to be the main link between Luhya MPs wishing to deal with Ruto on one side and with Uhuru on the other.
Sometimes, the political pilgrimages to Uhuru and Ruto by delegations led separately by Savula and Washiali became so monotonous. The two were seen as key players in Luhyaland until the arrival of Namwamba on the scene. Namwamba to Jubilee is more vibrant than any MP and can deliver the youthful vote.
But with Mudavadi’s exit and apparent rebranding in readiness to go for the presidency in 2017, the DP summoned his troops and advisers and instructed them to cobble multiple attacks to cripple any possible Mudavadi resurgence while creating outside, exit options for the DP to survive and even increase his overall control and supremacy within the Jubilee coalition.
If the scheme is to succeed, the DP’s side has sworn to do everything to arrest, cripple and make inconsequential the entire Luhya vote so that it is not an option for Uhuru or for the opposition Cord of Raila and Kalonzo Musyoka.
It is towards this that the same URP forces are fighting all promising Luhya political luminaries including the frustration of Eugene Wamalwa’s swearing-in as cabinet secretary for Irrigation and Water Services.
The URP was reportedly fighting to block the Irrigation docket from being run by Eugene once he assumes office. They want it to remain under Agriculture to be run by a URP appointee Felix Kosgey because of its big budget.
It was no secret that it was DP Ruto who lobbied to ensure that during the recent presidential tour to Western where Sh1 billion bailout was given to ailing Mumias Sugar Company, both Namwamba and Washiali were treated specially and like heroes. They were allowed to address choreographed roadside rallies along the highways while top Luhya leaders like Wetang’ula, Bonnie Khalwale, Amos Wako, Mudavadi and even Wamalwa were left out.
Yet unknown to many, the Mumias bailout was negotiated by Mudavadi last year and was supposed to be Sh5 billion. However, when Ruto got wind of the plan he ran with it and prematurely announced the intended bailout in a public meeting at Bukhungu Stadium, two months ago during the handing over of the Catholic Bishop’s diocese of Kakamega seat by Bishop Philip Sulumeti to Bishop Obayi from Kisii diocese. He effectively wanted to hoodwink the Luhya community that he is caring for their welfare so as to make it easy for his disciples like Washiali to prevail in coming days.
Despite the goings-on, selling UDF in Western region is a Herculean task. It is for this reason that even Luhya MPs who find reason to accept the Ruto overtures, amongst them senators George Khaniri and MPs Yussuf Chanzu, Savula, Bernard Shinali of Ikolomani and Emmanuel Wangwe are accepting and receiving goodies in secret but are unable to come out openly to declare their opposition to ANC and their loyalty to Ruto-controlled UDF for fear of obvious repercussions from hostile voters come 2017 elections.
Though many voters interviewed even in Mumias have castigated Washiali as a traitor who is basically “feasting on the “matapiko ya ndugu yake”, they say they are not surprised because he has a history of being a turn-coat and unreliable. They noted that in 2013, he only survived and returned to parliament by chance after he quickly defected to UDF to benefit from the Mudavadi diehard support in his constituency after his dalliance with Jubilee ran into heavy storms on the ground.
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